The Memphis Grizzlies have informed controversial guard Dillon Brooks that he won't be brought back "under any circumstances," according to Shams Charania. Brooks, a second-round pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, has spent his entire career with the Grizzlies and will be an unrestricted free agent this summer.
Per Charania, Brooks' antics and poor play during the Grizzlies' first-round playoff loss to the Los Angeles Lakers were the breaking point for the team.
After the Grizzlies' Game 2 win, Brooks delivered a bizarre postgame press conference in which he took multiple shots at LeBron James, calling him "old" and "tired" before adding, "I poke bears. I don't respect no one until they come and give me 40 [points]." That, to little surprise, did not go well for him nor the team.
In a Game 3 loss , Brooks was ejected for hitting James in the groin, and in a pivotal Game 4 defeat, Brooks was burned twice by James on key buckets at the end of regulation and overtime. On the offensive side of the ball, Brooks' inability to knock down shots (10-of-42 from 3-point land in the series) caused serious problems for the Grizzlies. Furthermore, he repeatedly declined to speak to reporters toward the end of the series, earning a $25,000 fine.
But while this high-profile playoff series put Brooks center stage, he has been building notoriety for some time. During the second round of the playoffs last season he delivered a foul that broke Golden State Warriors guard Gary Payton II's elbow, and was suspended for a game. Earlier this season he was involved in a number of other unnecessary incidents, including hitting Cleveland Cavaliers star Donovan Mitchell in the groin (ejection and suspension), shoving a camera person to the ground ($35,000 fine) and surpassing the technical foul limit (two separate one-game suspensions).
While none of those moments are good or helpful for the team, it's possible to overlook them if the player is producing, as Brooks did in the last few seasons. This campaign, however, was rough; he averaged 14.3 points, his fewest since his second season in the league, and shot a career-low 39.6 percent from the field. In the Grizzlies' first-round playoff loss, he was even worse, putting up 10.5 points on 31.2 percent shooting.
Brooks is one of the better perimeter defenders in the league, but that can only get you so far when you cannot make shots and cause problems on and off the court for your team. He should find another spot this summer in free agency, but it's no surprise the Grizzlies were ready to move on.